• Lori Kirkpatrick

Dustin Marshall - Friend or Foe?

From 2013-2016 and immediately prior to being elected to the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees, Dustin Marshall served on the Board of Directors for Uplift Education, the largest charter school network in North Texas.


While on the Uplift Board, Dustin Marshall‘s actions forced DISD into a long-term, losing proposition.


A review of Uplift Board meeting minutes during Mr. Marshall's tenure shows he supported growing the private charter organization with taxpayer dollars, resulting in hundreds of millions in funding cuts from Dallas ISD. While on the Uplift board Dustin Marshall:

  • Expanded Uplift charter schools in and around Dallas ISD

  • Lobbied the Texas Legislature in favor of charter schools

  • Planned for Uplift charter school growth in Dallas ISD

Expansion:

One Uplift expansion Mr. Marshall supported is White Rock Hills (WRH) in East Dallas. Why did Dustin Marshall vote to open WRH, a C rated school? There are six DISD elementary schools within 3.1 miles of WRH, all rated B or C on the state accountability system.



This year Uplift announced it is planning to build a new campus in East Dallas at I-30 and Buckner in addition to WRH, further eroding funding to DISD neighborhood campuses.


A second expansion project during Mr. Marshall's Uplift tenure is Wisdom Prep. There are majority B and C rated DISD schools within 2.7 miles of Wisdom, which was rated an Improvement Required (IR) campus its first year and a C the second. For what purpose did Mr. Marshall support this expansion?


There is no demonstrated need, only an avenue to access taxpayer funding for a private business entity, otherwise known as privatization. When at full capacity, Wisdom Prep will cost DISD an estimated $100 million in funding over 10 years.


Lobbying:

Dustin Marshall lobbied the Texas Legislature in favor of charter schools. The result? The amount of funding diverted from our traditional public schools to privately run Uplift tripled during and since Mr. Marshall's time there.

https://emma.msrb.org/ER1248979-ER975699-ER1376898.pdf (B20)

https://emma.msrb.org/ER1008300-ER789475-ER1190809.pdf (*9)

https://emma.msrb.org/IssueView/Details/EA353058 (Continuing Disclosure - CAFR)


Growth Planning:

Dustin Marshall participated in planning to grow Uplift enrollment here and here. This growth directly targeted DISD as stated in Uplift's bond documents dated August 24, 2014 (Appendix B4, B17):

  • "During the second phase of Uplift's growth...Uplift has focused on increasing its presence in east Dallas, west Dallas, and Irving.

  • The current focus of Uplifts expansion...is to continue to build out additional schools in its current target markets of Dallas, Irving, Arlington and Fort Worth."


As stated, expanding charter schools forces Dallas ISD into a long-term, losing proposition of lower annual revenues and higher per student costs. This situation is not sustainable and can only be mitigated by reducing expenses for student programs and services, higher class sizes and higher student/teacher ratios.


Dallas ISD: Financial Impact of State Charters 2012-2019

Dustin Marshall's actions have directly and negatively impacted DISD, just as planned.


For a true friend of public education, I recommend voting https://nancy4disd.com/.

Early voting is October 13-30th and election day is November 3rd.

Dustin Marshall and the charter lobby group Texas Aspires (site now hidden within PIE Network).

Dustin Marshall and the voucher movement Empower Texans.